Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First world champs draws 14 nations


HCM CITY — The first world championship featuring the Vietnamese traditional martial art, Vovinam, will have athletes from 14 nations compete at HCM City’s Military Zone 7 Gymnasium next week.

Oranisers said 115 martial artists from Australia, Belarus, Cambodia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Poland, Russia, Romania, Thailand, Ukraine and Viet Nam will compete for 30 medal sets at the July 26-31 championship which includes eight in performance events and twelve in combat events.

The combat events, seven men categories and five women classes, will take place on July 28 and 29.

The Vietnamese squad of 45 martial artists is highly rated in lightweight categories in performance events but face stiff competition in heavier categories and combat events, Master Vo Danh Hai, general secretary of the World Federation of Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts Federation or World Vovinam Federation (WVF), says.

The hosts are expected to win 10-12 gold medals in the performance events and four in combat events.

Hai said France, Italy and Germany are very strong in the performance events, while Russia, Iran and Thailand are very strong in combat events.

Ten foreign referees and Vietnamese referees will officiate matches during the championship.
The tournament, scheduled to be a biannual event, will next be held in 2011, and its host will be decided at the next WVF meeting.

Le Quoc An, standing vice chairman of WVF, said this championship is an important step in promoting Vovinam regionally and internationally.

A competition to help the five Asian countries to prepare for the third Asian Indoor Games that Viet Nam will host this November will be held after the world championships, organisers said.
Vovinam, which now has about 100,000 practitioners worldwide, is Viet Nam’s first sport on the roster of Asian Indoor Games. The WVF is also lobbying for the sport to be included in other big sport events in the region and the world, including the SEA Games — VNS

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